From computers to coffee cups and bottles of water, plastic is an integral part of modern life. Despite its ubiquity, the issue of plastic waste is a big, pressing one.
Recent research has highlighted just how big the problem is. The study – by scientists from the University of Georgia, the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Sea Education Association – found that as of 2015, humans had produced an estimated 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic, with 6.3 billion tons of that seen as waste.
At the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry (SIOC) in China, scientists are looking to turn plastic into fuel.
"If we have the plastic waste in the environment or in the ocean or bury it underground, it's going to stay there for hundreds or thousands of years," SIOC's Zheng Huang told CNBC's Sustainable Energy.
"So we needed to find a solution to… plastic waste, and we think converting them into fuel is an excellent way to reuse it," he added.
The work Huang and his team are doing focuses on polyethylene, used in everything from bags to toys and food packaging.
"What we are doing differently is to use… so called 'cross alkane metathesis' strategies," Huang said.